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tv   Washington This Week  CSPAN  January 4, 2015 4:01am-6:31am EST

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and operate centers at a low cost around the country around the world? >> right now we're -- -- outside of the u.s. it will be a different model and it really depends on where you are. so we're looking at that sort of systemically based on which location we go first and what local infrastructure is already in place. or whether we need to actually develop that infrastructure ourselves. >> are there any other partners than walgreen's that you are going to market? >> we've announced relationships in the context of something we want to change that's really important in the context of the inpatient process. but also, as these hospitals increasingly become accountable
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care organizations the need to save money and therefore keep peam out of the hospital and that's something we're very focused on through our work. >> what is the biggest obstacle to the adoption of this stuff? when you think about the problems that you have scaling, what is the thing that sort of worries you the most? >> well, i think as we build our company making sure we have the right people is what it's all about. and as we get the right people we can make sure that the service we provide person by person is excellent. and we have an extremely long term mindset with respect to the opportunity to realize this mission. so what we care most about is literally person by person have we created a wonderful experience and pacing our growth around that. so people in excellence and
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service. >> i think we are actually out of time. i appreciate it very much. thank you. [applause]
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it's been say mazing. i've been working with you to see how your companies save lives. the u.n. has been open for business. the talk innovation, scale innovation. but my favorite is what's going on in emerging economies that are disrupting everything. >> that's become a huge area for startups. facebook announced 100 million users in africa. 50% of the population there. everyone is trying to work on these initiatives. it seems there's a lot to be done. >> there is. >> but you're going to be working on something new. today announcing that she is the new entrepreneur in residence at dell computer. >> that's right. >> cool. that's awesome. >> yeah.
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>> what the does that mean? >> we'll let you know. technology is the only force that is pozz 2i68 enabling and enhancing the human potential. so the united nations and dell are not that far apart when it comes to understanding that if we don't advance technology, make it accessible for all everyone, that we're not going to succeed. the second area is just all of these entrepreneurs we need 500 million jobs by 2020 for the eligiblework fors and they're coming from entrepreneurs. 70% are coming from entrepreneurs. 90% in emerging companies. so we'll be pushing for the policies needed. >> it makes it why dell would want to have your help if they're trying to bring their technologies to the world. why did you pick dell? >> well, we picked each other,
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i've got to be honest. we were really proud that michael dell became the first global advocate for entrepreneurship for united nations foundation and we developed a relationship and just understood that if we don't work with entrepreneurs globally to give them capital, to help them access technology better talent, reduce regulations, that we're not going to get the job creation that we need, we're not going to get to the policies that we need. so i think we stood on common ground there pretty quickly. >> you talked a lot about global solutions. china creates these big fixes. that seems like a buzz word straight out of the enterprise world. but like what does that mean? what's an example of a global solution? >> if all of you look at your phone, we have more phones than people by the end of the year. the mobile phone in my mind has been a global solution that's changing everything. if you look at how we use it now for data collection to
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reduce the -- disease, for example. with ebola happening there's no way without the technology that we have to track and compartment lies that and try to stop it. so it could also be something innovative. there's some great companies out here that all of you have. and drones for example have such a bad name but we're using them for disemination of vaccines and tracking refugees and a lot of very positive things in the world. so solution ks be profitable and save lives. >> silicon valley is techy system kind of gets a bad rap about people making money to make themselves rich. what have you learned at your time that can help us to understand what we can do more to contribute? i know you worked with bill and melinda gates and they've signed the giving pledge to give away most of their money in their lifetime. but what about the average tech
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worker? well off but not super rich? like the people in our audience, what can they do? what can we be expecting them to do to donate and volunteer and help? >> all of you can very quickly look at your triple bottom line. it's something i talk about a lot. that the day you start your company you can understand, yes, how it's going to be profitable but also how does it impact the people on the planet? most entrepreneurs are going to be a long time before they can write a check and that's ok but their technology might have an application that can save a life that can advance the work of a community around them whether it's here in san francisco or it's in a refugee camp. and you would be surprised about all the solutions from unicef to the refugee agency that everyone is looking for that is just in these startup communities. so it's not just about writing checks. it's about understanding how your technology can save lives. >> there's got to be a todayoff
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where you indicate you're trying to make a difference or not. if you're a bubble company that means answering to share holders who constantly want more profit. and if you're assertive you've got to make the next milestones so people want to keep investing in you. how do you find that balance? >> i think that this generation's entrepreneurs are looking at it from the day they open their business. so it's part of their business plan. we understand that consumers want that of companies that they're investing in that they're looking at the world around them. the reason i was so attracted to dell is they were private they're public, they're private again. but they've always maintained this commitment to entrepreneurship, to their sustainability their profitability, but most of all -- and this is what's important -- that they've provided their enterprise level solutions to companies whether they were with ten people or it was a multibillion dollar company. that type of thinking that we really need to support everyone for job creation, for the
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politics that we need, that's going to fuel all of these businesses to be successful. >> i really hope the investors step up and start to say we're a social returns focus firm or this is something that matters to us. it's not just about our companies maximizing profit. we would like a lot of profit but more social good than just more profit. i would like to see more come forward and talk about that because i think you're going to have a better time recruiting great companies to become part of your portfolio if you are legitimately trying to make a better impact on the world. when it comes to dell, they do a lot of humanitarian efforts but there's a lot of talk about like when is it ok to make money saving a life? and how does dell work, how do they handle that? how do they decide what their margins are when it's like do we make more money or save more lives? >> i hope for everyone on the debate can you be profitable and save lives actually dies.
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no pun intended, very soon. because you can be a profitable company and look at the technology you're using with life saving applications. multiple examples are liquid melding with data. when they're looking at kids who have cancer and trying to make various tough life-saving decisions. dell uses their clout and data and everything in their analytics and shortens that decision making from years down to minutes. i don't dare if that is profitable if my little girl's life is being saved. most of the entrepreneurs, 90% or so in emerging and developing countries are actually solving problems with their profitable companies. they're going to be around a lot longer than charitable donations would allow them to be. so i think it's fine to be profitable and save a life. >> like common air funding more
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companies. one that is can make money in one part of the world and investing. i like some of the other companies that, for instance there's one that will educate families in ippedia about how to care for people that would normally need to be in a hospital but give them home medical care and they fund that by providing that service in the bay area and teaching families how to do that same care at home. and taking that money and being abling to give that service away for free. i think that's a great example. >> an eir that kind of sounds like a cushy job. you get to be a entrepreneur without having to have a startup to bust your butt upon. >> i feel like i have a lot of pressure. >> you really do. >> i'm actually due this afternoon so we've got to wrap this up. no. >> i'll take that -- >> ok. no. dell is an incredible company
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and the appreciate i feel is that michael dell and the whole company have made a huge commitment to entrepreneurs. that they're providing technology but they're also going to work on policy objectives that take this 8:00 to 10:00 -- 8 out of 10 fail rate down and help create 500 million jobs through the entrepreneurs that they work with. that's a lot of work to do. i don't think there's any cushion in that at all. but they're committed to it, i'm committed to it. we're excited about it. if technology is a fabric that binds all of us i think this is a good company to work for. >> i'm excited to have somebody whose heart is so aligned with helping the world and not just making money at one of the biggest companies in the world. so thank you for your commitment to that effort. and thanks again for make yourg announcement here. >> thank you. >> thank you everyone. >> in the president's weekly address vice president joe biden encourages people to sign up for health insurance through the affordable care act. the current enrollment period
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ends on february 15. in the republican response representative rodney davis discussing the hire more heroes act and the party's priorities in the 114th congress. >> hello, everyone. there's one thing that you can do to make a difference in your health. get health insurance through the affordable care act. because of that law access to quality health care is improving. last year almost 7 million people signed up for health care coverage under the new law and paid their premiums. in many cases the cost of health care is less than the cost of your cell phone or your cable bill.
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in addition, millions more are getting the care that they need through medicaid that they weren't getting before. and because of the new law people who are already had health insurance are also benefiting from additional protections. for example, their insurance companies can't deny them coverage because of preexisting conditions like asthma or diabetes. and they're able to get for free preventative services like mammograms or blood pressure screenings that their doctors ordered for them saving them a lot of money. everyone is beginning to realize what millions of you already know. the affordable care act is working. and we're just getting started. because there are millions more who can get quality affordable health care if you sign up before february 15 of this year. that's now through february 15.
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all you have to do is pick one. the best one that fits your family's health care needs and your family's budget. if you don't want to go to health and want to talk to somebody on the phone you can call 1-800-318-2596. from this moment on you can call any time of the day any day of the week. the phone lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. and for folks listening today whose family and friends may not speak english, let them know that there are translators available in over 150 ludges to -- languages to guide them through the process. if you're not comfortable going on line and you want to sit down with an individual to help you through this you can find out where to go as well. because in every community a local libraries or community health centers people are there to help. all you have to do is go on
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health, type in where you live and you can find out where to go to sit down with a person who will help you walk through the process. but here's the really important point i want to make. if you don't sign up by february 15th of this year with only a very few exceptions if you don't sign up by the 15th of this year you're going to have to wait until 2016 to get health insurance through the affordable care act. and even those of you who have already have health insurance through the affordable health care act you can also go on health to find a plan that may offer more benefits or be more affordable in price for you. you might even qualify for additional help paying for the insurance you choose because your income isn't what it was last year. now, i'm sure some of you already heard from your friends and neighbors who have signed up for health insurance under the affordable care act what i hear all around the country, i hear provides peace of mind, that someone you love will be
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cord if god forbid something happens. it provides security. so if you have a bad strain in your ankle or back and don't have the money to get treatment you can now get the treatment rather than wait put it off and end up with a chronic condition. it provides a lot of freedom in choice and opportunity so you can switch jobs or move to another city without the fear that you will lose out on the health insurance with a company you now have it with. what i'm hearing most is how pleased and excited people are about how affordable it is. an awful lot of people who didn't think they could or would find quality health insurance are able to get assistance from the government to help them pay for their health care plans at a cheaper rate. a family of four with an income around 95,000 can still get a subsidy to lower their health care premiums. but maybe most importantly what i hear is that we have finally ended the debate in this
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country of whether or not health insurance is a right or a privilege. we think everyone in america has a right to have adequate health care insurance. and the affordable care act gives them that right. so sign up and spread the word. protect your health. not only for your sake but for the sake of your families. thanks for listening. and jill and i wish you again a happy and healthy new year. >> i'm honored to be speaking to you from speeled, the home of abraham lincoln. on tuesday we begin a new congress and that means a new start. if we work together we have a great opportunity to grow our economy and put our nation on solid footing for a bright future. that's why the house will start
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off the jobs bills that have bipartisan support but were never considered by democratic-run senate. one of those initiatives is a bill i sponsored called the hire more heroes act. what this bill does is makes a common seps change to the president's health care law that will encourage small businesses to hire more of our nation's veterans. you see, one problem with the health care law, one of many, is that because of its cost and mandates small businesses face higher costs and have to hold off on hiring. when small businesses the engine of our economy can't hire we can't move forward. that's where the hire more heroes act comes in. this bill exements veterans already enrolled in health care plans through the department of defense or the v.a. from being counted toward the employee limit under the president's health care law. so not only are we providing small businesses and our economy with much-needed relief but also helping more of our veterans find work.
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because despite receiving the best training in the world, post 9/11 veterans are consistently faced with higher unemployment rates than that of other veterans. as more and more of these men and women return home the hire more heroes act will give them a better chance in a still tough job market. the hire more heroes act is an example of the kind of bipartisan jobs bills the house will be bringing up on your behalf. in the coming days the house will also act on legislation to approve the keystone xl pipeline and to restore the 40-hour workweek for middle class families. from there more good ideas will follow. if the president is willing to work with us we'll have a real chance to address our nation's most pressing challenges. there's one more thing i want you to know. this idea didn't come from washington. it came from right here in illinois. brad la veeti the super attend president of the veterans
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convention came to me in seeing how unemployed veterans a were having a difficult time navigating the new health care law. then we got started on this and other ideas to help. listening to people and making your priorities our priorities that's what you can expect from this new american congress. if we all unite and work together, 2015 will be a great year for our
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>> good afternoon. each year we present an award of merit to an outstanding graduate. >> our award of merit has gone to presidents like gerald ford and bill clinton, to senators it has gone to cabinet officials.
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governors, senators, and outstanding legislators. today we continue that tradition by honoring three alumni who without any question have contributed immensely to the substance of american people law. today we honor three justices of the united states supreme court. the tale of each of these justices is a quintessentially american story a story of upward mobility, of hard relentless work, of staggering achievement, and of great inborn talent. in different ways and in the name of different ideals, each of our honorees has already left an indelible mark on the shape of our common juris prudence. for as far back as anyone in this room can remember this school has been the site of passionate argument and disagreement. our ambition has always been to
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nourish students in the pursuit of their own values. we strive to help young men and women become as thoughtful and as effective as they can possibly be as they work out for themselves how best to comprehend this large and complex world. every year our alumni graduates with widely different world views and that is good. if we have done our job right however, our graduates will share one thing. they will appreciate the value of reason, of dialogue, of open and productive conversation. they will listen to those with whom they disagree and they will learn from them. commitment to these values is a precious resource in today's world where rankor and disrespect threaten to tear apart the shared fabric of our life. without the virtues of respect and engagement that lie at the heart of the education yale has
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always driven to provide i fear for the future of our nation. the supreme court of the united states has always been at the heart of implaqueable controversy. i cannot begin to imagine the mail strom of pressure that must engulf every jausttiss. it exhausts me simply to think about the courage and back breaking effort it must take every day to stand up for the vision in which one believes and yet to remain open to the arguments of those with whom one disagrees. in no institution, therefore, are the values of a yale education more important, more salient than the supreme court. and so it is a real pleasure to welcome back to yale these three justices. each of whom in their own distinct way has displayed the fortitude and virtwossty necessary to succeed in the highly pressurized chamber of the court. it is a real pleasure to welcome them back to a space that is safe for dialogue and
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discussion and that is oriented to bringing out the best in each of us in the hope that we will discover there in ourselves shared values and aspirations. each of the justices we honor today graduated from yale in the 1970's. the biography of each justice is in the program before you and so in the interest of time and of allowing you to hear directly from them i shall not now repeat those biographies. in fact, i will be very brief. i shall say only that in coming to yale as students each of these three justices enriched our community in way that is foreshadowed how they would later enrich the entire country in their roles as justices of the supreme court. i'm going to introduce the justices in order of senior t.
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the house in which he spent his earliest years had no running water and only a single light. when he was seven he was sent to live with his uncle. who stressed the importance of education so that young clarence could one day hold down a coat and tie job even though he now wears robes rather than coats and ties i'm guessing that his grandfather would still be proud. his resources were so limited that when his son was born here he could not afford a place for his child to sleep. so dean jim thomas who is here today celebrating his 50th reunion and who had the good sense to admit each of these three justices lent clarence thomas his own family crib. despite the difficulties of his background justice thomas arrived at yale ready to make his mark.
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even before classes began he secured a job with new haven legal assistance. the office's managing attorney at the time remembers thomas as a quick learner very well organized and the kind of person that you were able to trust to do the work well. thomas brought the same attitude to his studies eager to balance his community engagement with immeshes in the study of law thomas obtained special permission to carry more than the maximum number of credits and he subjected himself to a rigorous curriculum of corporate law, bankruptcy, and commercial transactions. he made a habit of staying at the library until it closed at 1:00 in the morning. it was clear from the beginning just how really smart he was. thomas' accute and diligence were equalled by an easy sosheability that led to enduring relationships with students and faculty. he soon became close with the
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pioneering tax scholar and the civil rights professor and with a yale institution who sadly passed away earlier this year. around the end of his first spring thomas lost his wealt and he had it returned to him by a fellow classmate named john bolton. the two became fast friends. their discussions of politics even made thomas hesitate before casting a ballot for george mcgovern in 1972. justice thomas' voting preferences may have changed since then but his ability to relate to others has not. there are many law students who go to clerk at the supreme court and to a person they praise justice thomas as a human being. they speak of his humor and welcoming demeanor. they describe his kindness,
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warpts infectious laugh. celebrate his deep personal humanity and his constant effort to reach out and be helpful to them in times of stress and pain regardless of their political beliefs. and that is no small thing for a justice in robes. and of course when he puts on his robes, there can be no doubt whatever of justice thomas' determination and dedication. no justice is as fearless and relentless affirming what he or she considers to be right as the justice. appointed to the court in 1991 at the age of 43, justice thomas has been called the court's conservative intellectual path breaker on issue after issue he has anticipated and shaped the development of doctrine passionately developed depending his convictions even when few agree until gradually and in no small part due to the force of justice thomas' reasoning and writing his views have made their way into the legal mainstream.
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akeel amar has described his impressioned eye con class m to justice harlan while eugene volic has suggest that had thomas should be counted alongside justices holmes and marshall as a true visionary. court watching however is always a tricky business. and no one has made that clearer than our second honoree samuel alito who in his prize-winning law journal note analyzed the behind the scenes negotiations in the early religion clause cases like mccollum and zorack. in that note he catalogued, a long list of outwardly plausible but badly mistaken interpretation that is resulted from attempts to discern the motivations and intentions of the justices. even as a student justice alito who graduated in 1975 understood that outsiders could not begin to guess at the
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negotiations and the endless compromises involved in constructing an opinion for the court. if you examine the career of justice thomas you will find it entirely dedicated to public service and so also the career of samuel alito which has spanned from the united states attorney's office to the office of legal counsel to the third circuit court of appeals to his current chambers at one first street. public service was in justice alito's genes. his father an italian immigrant who taught high school history and served as the executive director, his mother was a librarian, teacher, and school principal. and both parents were the first in their families to attend college. at yale justice alito was, as his first year torts professor remembers, the perfect law student. he did everything right. good friends with all. in short order justice alito became an editor of the law
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journal and a moot court champion. peter, an alum from the class of 1978 remembers seeing justice alito in class where he would always sit in the front row staring intently at the professor. he never took a note. and he never raised his hand. but whenever there was a question that no one else could answer, the professor would inevitably call on samuel alito who would always nail it. appointed to the supreme court in 2006, samuel alito enjoys a reputation among his colleagues as someone with the utmost integrity as a straight shooter who calls them as he sees them. he has been praised as one of the noblest men in public life today and he is also a formidable jurist. he combines a meth odd logical approach and a mastry of craft that has led legal linguist brian garner to label him "an exemplar of legal style who
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writes with power and with clarity. " it is plain to court watchers that justice alito is assuming a position of leadership on the supreme court authoring major opinions that express his deep convictions. at the risk of being merely another uninformed outsider i would venture to guess that he is now conducting the various negotiations that he so brilliantly studied many years ago as a yale student. and i would further venture to guess that the force of his presence and intellect is hard to resist. our third and final honoree today is justice sonya society mire. she graduated from yale in 1979. like justice thomas her life story is one of determination and grit. born in the east bronx to parents who emigrated to the united states from purityo rico during world war ii, justice society mire grew up in a family that refused to accept
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that discrimination would dictate what their children would become. her mother worked long hours as a nurse was famous in the projects for saving up to buy sonya and her brother who is now a doctor a complete edition of the enpsych peedia of brit tanaka and the books paid off. after graduating sumea accumulate laud from prince upon in 1979 she headed straight to yale law school where she developed a reputation for having an analytical mind, a balanced perspective, and a fearless disposition. her yale law school classmate and now a dean at another law school up the road described her as tough clear, and very quick on her feet. her torts exam was remarkable. first termers tend to be careful.
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they don't want to take chances. but sonya was one of those rare people who from the very beginning took chances. as a student she chose to study matters that were close to her heart. her yale law journal note which her professor believed is still the best work ever written on this subject. concerned the application of the equal footing doctrine to potential statehood. professor steven carter another editor on her note remembers how she was scrupeluss about giving the strongest possible form even to positions with which she disagreed. and the yale law journal found her note so important that it issued a press release to announce its publicication. she was appointed to the court in 2009.
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like justices thomas and alito her path to the court entailed a life dedicated to public service. she is in fact the only current supreme court justice who has had experience as a district court judge and this has informed her pervasive sense of how the law actually operates in the lives of ordinary people. a prominent criminal law scholar has written that her experience has "given the court a perspective on criminal justice hah it has been lacking, one that is fully informed pi how things work on the ground and how real people interact with criminal justice policies and the vast majority of cases in the system." what has been said about her criminal juris prudence can also be said about her juris prudence generally. she has affirmed her commitment to realizing the rule of law in its fullest sense driven by her
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belief that society is best served by "a shared acceptance of the law's judgment." the idea that the law must be legitimate to all americans is a noble and an essential ideal. and anyone who has followed her work on the court knows that she has pursued it with eloquence and tenacity. so my fellow alumns, we have on the stage today three remarkable graduates of this school. three graduates who have answered the call to public service and achievement and who have already made an unmistakeable mark on the substance of american law. each of you has been an inspiration to the young students that we teach. each in your own way. and for giving them faith in the value of law, in the profession of law, and in the
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possibilities of law we thank you and we confer upon you the yale law school award of merit which looks like this. you will each get this sent to you. and as you can see it has a picture of lady justice in it which comes from the windows of the law building. and i know that wherever lady justice is currently living she is very proud of each one of you. congratulations. [applause] >> so now we turn to the high light of the afternoon which is a conversation between justices thomas, alito and
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sotamayor and our own professor of law. her career in academia and public service includes stints as an assistant u.s. attorney in the southern district of new york as a staff economist at the council of economic advisers and as a special assistant to the assistant attorney general in the criminal division of d.o.j. it also includes more than 25 years as a professor at this law school where she has written incisively and taught passionately about constitutional law, criminal law, and criminal procedure. when this school sought an interim dean after the departure of dean harold co-it unanimously turned to kate. so i very much look forward to the conversation that kate will lead with our three larger than life honorees. [applause]
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>> it's a real treat for us to have you back here. clarence and sonya, we decided to go informal. they're here celebrating their reunions. and sam, you're going to be able to see judge garth later on. he's moved up to brandford. so we hope your whole weekend goes wonderful and we're very excited that we have less than an hour-and-a-half but some time to get to know you better. my questions are going to proceed in three parts. first, we want to learn about your life off the bench. then about your careers before you joined the supreme court. and finally some questions about your work on the court. if there's a commonality -- if there's a common theme, it's the commonality between you in some respects.
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so robert spoke of your background and we surely all took notes that none of you came from a family of lawyers. you each chose this path with some independence and grit. and so i was going to ask you about where you got that grit. sonya, let me begin with you. you're quoted as saying, i was going to go to college and i was going to become an attorney and i knew that when i was ten. no jest. i want to ask you not so much what made you want to be an attorney but what did becoming a lawyer mean for you at that tender age of ten? >> oh. i thought you were going to ask has it meant to me. to say what i was thinking at ten wasn't terribly
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sophisticated. but i understood despite the repetitive theme of the perry mason shows, which is what introduced me to lawyers each of the cases that i heard from week to week was different. they were different people doing different kinds of work interested in different parts of the world. and of the society they were in. and i have a sense that the law gave one that opportunity to learn new things constantly. in high school i worked in an office with -- back then it was one man and a bunch of women. ok? and in the business office of a hospital. and i used to relieve them during the summer when they went on vacation. and i knew from the
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repetitiveness of the work that i wanted something that would be constantly stimulating. i wasn't thinking back then in the global terms i subsequently developed. and so that has changed is what law is to me now and what made me choose it ultimately in terms of for sure the career i was going to do after college. was that it was service. >> we will hear more about what it's become to you. sam, your prince ton year book quotes you as having said you dreamed some day of warming a seat on the supreme court. i don't know if you really said that. but is there some aspect of your early life or maybe early professional experience that's particularly important in achieving that? >> i did say it as a joke.
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i was thinking of saying he dreams of playing in the world series and i might have said that. both ideas -- >> you would have preferred that. you have gone to baseball camp. right? >> i did. yes, i did. both ideas would seem probably equally plausible at that point. a couple of things got me interested in the law. i had no lawyers in my family but my father did research for the new jersey legislator so he was drafting laws and he used to discuss that with us. that seemed very i want resting. after reynolds versus sims was decided he had the job of drawing new legislative districts and new congressional districts for the state and he would discuss that as well. and i still couldn't remember lie -- i still can remember lying in bed and listening to the clanchinge of the mechanical adding machine he was using. shows you how much technology was changed. but he was doing different map to make equal districts with
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equal population just using this mechanical adding machine down on the kitchen table. so that was one thing. the other thing that got me interested in law was debating. i debated in high school. and one year the debate topic, the national high school debate topic had to do with a constitutional criminal procedure question. and it just fascinated me. i remember that there was a little book put out that provided arguments on both sides of the question that was written by someone who at the time was labeled as a law clerk for i believe justice on the california supreme court. and the name of this -- it was the first time i think i ever saw the name law clerk. the name of this individual was lawrence tribe. that was the first book i think that he has -- that he wrote. so those were two of the things that really got me i want rested to start out. >> great. clarence unlike your
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colleagues you once said that you never wanted to be on the court. that you prefer a private and anonymous life. what changed your mind? and are you glad you changed it? >> oh, i don't know if i ever changed my mind. i think what changed is, when the president calls you you always say yes mr. president. and that sort of gets you into these forest gump situations. but, you know, i was just reflecting on my colleagues. first of all, it's an honor to be here with them. it's a bit overwhelming, i have to be honest with you, and it's a particular honor to be here with my wife virginia who is totally my best friend in the world. this is certainly far more special than at the time when i
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thought my graduation was. i did not think about being a lawyer. i thought about being a priest. that was my dream. when you're an altar boy the next step is to determine whether you have a vocation and then to go on at that time to the minor seminary. and that was the major change in my life in 1964. >> and you went to seminary for a year. >> i went to seminary for four years include mig first year of college. and then the late 1960s happened. and a lot of things happened in the summer of 1968 including lots of vocation and lots of faith. and then you start thinking what do i do? where do i look? how do i help? and that's when the idea you -- i reflected back on people like atticus finch was the only
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thing i knew about. and to kill a mocking bird. i knew about max from native son. and so these were the thing that is played out in your mind in the 1960s. and those of us who were there in the late 1960s there not say we were thinking straight about a whole lot of things. even if we were not using illegal substances. it was a different time. and what i wound up with was working in the community. that was a common theme for all of us. so i wound up at new haven legal assistance. but the whole effort was to come here and to go back to savannah. and yale was actually quite good because very 95ly i think you said sonya, that your thinking at 10 was unsophisticated but my thinking at 20 was unsophisticated. and i think yale took me up
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when i think in my application -- i'm just paraphrasing -- i said that i was quite taken by the law and i was excited to learn about it. and that has actually continued. someone who read that actually believed me. it must have sounded particularly nyyeeve but it was true and still true today. and what has changed is that i think we -- i'm 66. i'm not 20 any more, i'm not 21. and i feel as strongly about it after all the experiences and more idea listic perhaps now than i did -- than i was back then. >> thank you. let me continue with this libe of questioning. the same question to each of the three of you. what personality trait do you think has been the greatest impediment to your success? or if you prefer you can tell us about a trait that you found helpful and you can decline to
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answer. let's start with you, clarence. >> you know, i have finally figured out -- i'm pretty much an introvert. and that turned out to be one of the traits that was enormously helpful. for working that out i thank my law clerks and susan cane for pointing out at least in her book on quiet, the traits that you have. i think that's been very helpful to me. because i've been able to sort things out. when i was teaching myself algebra, typing, or work ago lone it was persistance. i'm very comfortable with doing things over and over until i learn them. even here. i found law school enormously
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elusive. and learning -- going over reading the tax revenues and the tax regulations over and over until it made sense. i think it only made sense when i threw the volumes out. but i just think -- i think persistance. i also think respect for others' opinions. it doesn't -- there's no penalty for disagreing that i can respectfully and clearly disagree but not in a way that you think, oh, i'm going to make this guy angry or he's going to blow up or we're going to have some unpleasantness. so it works fine for me on the
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court. i'm sure my colleagues can think of those thing that is i just gave you as stubbornness or bul headedness. but to me that would be an incorrect assessment. >> i could ask a couple of your colleagues about -- not do that right now. sonya,? >> i think to be successful generally and probably each of us will say he used the word persistent. i used the word stubborn. they're flip sides of both things. you just don't want to give up and so you don't. i do think you have to respect people. and you have to like them. but in direct answer to your question i have a trait that's been enormously helpful and enormously harmful at the same time. i have an incredible power of concentration. when i am involved in
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something, whether it's reading -- and i have described this before in my office people would stand out side my door to talk because i would never hear them. once i was working i shut everything out. that could be very helpful for absorbing information and thinking about it when you're not distracted. harmful is that that's what happens to me when i'm on the bench. and i'm involved in an argument and i become sort of oblivious to the world around me. and i'm just trained in on the person who i'm engaged with and i'm seeking an answer. and so to some it seems that i'm being combative when i'm really just searching for an answer. and that has helped me in that sense. and i think that it sometimes still does. and i try and i'm trying harder
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as each year passes to correct some of that. but i think -- i hope because i have to soothe myself -- that we all can see the good in ourselves and admit some of the bad, too. >> thank you. sam. >> impediments more than i can think of, that i can mention. but one has been -- one has been mentioned already. probably would have been better if i said a bit more at various times. you mentioned that i'm going to see judge garth for whom i clerked. his joke is that i said two things to him during the course of the year that i spent with him. hello, judge on the first day and good-bye on the last. when i left. i don't think that's exactly accurate. traits that have served me well. >> you became you're very close friends with him.
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>> yes. a wonderful experience. he's a great great mentor and he's now in his 90s. he has been doing active work for my old cout for the third circuit until this past summer and still mentally very sharp and lives here here. so that's an added benefit of my trip up here this weekend that i will have a chance to see him. traits that have served me well. i think one of if not my single favorite movie is being there. i think if you remember that movie being in the right place at the right time. that's the best. >> i tell my students that about clerkships. sometimes just being there at the right time. so let me get on a bit of a lighter note. beyond sharing a passion for the law each of you is also a
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passionate sports fan. sam and sonya, you were famously ardent baseball fans. the man from central new jersey being a fillies fan and sonya from the bronx of course a yankees fan. and i thought -- clarence have you ever gone to a baseball game? you know. you are, however i understand with your wife jenny a devoted fan of the nebraska huskers. jenny from nebraska. is that why you're a huskers fan? >> yes. i really like my wife a lot and -- i'm -- [applause] and i really liked her mother. and her mother really liked me. so my advice to people who get married, look out for the
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mother in-law. but they were big nebraska fans. and i also liked the fact i think it's wrong for these kids to go to school and use of their eligibility and not graduate. at this moment, we are dispatching with rutgers. hopefully that's over. >> i want to ask you beyond sports, what you do with your leisure time when you're not on supreme court duty. i am going to give the answer and you will tell me who i am referring to in the style of the old "what's my line" tv show. one of you inspired a coffee shop to name a flavor bold justice. who you think?
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>> do you want to ask the audience to participate? [laughter] >> obviously, it's me. >> yes. >> there's a story behind it. this comes from my days on the third circuit. right around the corner from the courthouse there was an old coffee shop that predates starbucks and all the new things. this goes back to the 19th century. this coffee shop had a promotion and you could sign up for a year and philip of thermos of coffee for the year. they said that if during the course of the year you sampled every lend of coffee that they made it, then you could create
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your own blended the end of the year ended name it. they did that. this involves a lot of sacrifice. there were blends like blueberry coffee. [laughter] horrible things. they created this blend which is designed for 3:00 in the afternoon if you are working and starting to fall asleep. it if you have this, it will jolt you awake. that is the story behind it. the clerk who was the leader and coffee expert who did that, they have ended up as a law professor and where would he go, but to seattle. he teaches at the university of washington law school. >> you are serious about your coffee. >> yes. >> soanya? >> i am very much so. i had to give it up.
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i can still get regularly pounds of coffee from puerto rico. i was an avid coffee drinker. everybody sends me coffee. i have a home full of it. friends have it. just get on my list. [laughter] >> i'm a folders not. you can see i am eclectic. i'm not a connoisseur. that's pretty obvious, right? >> one of you enjoys traveling across country with your spouse and a 40 foot rv. >> that's technically incorrect. [laughter] >>it is a motorcoach.
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>> is that bigger than an rv? >> it is a better vehicle than an rv. >> you are a connoisseur about some things. >> a motorcoach is a tour bus. >> he is a connoisseur about some things. >> its old, but it's really nice. i do travel on it. it is a wonderful country. we have been doing it for 15 years. we have been through connecticut and seen western connecticut and massachusetts. other parts of new england in upstate new york. the west, the south. this is an amazingly beautiful country. >> do people ever come up to you
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and say you look like clarence thomas? >> after bush v gore, you guys probably don't recall that case. [laughter] one thing about these old motor coaches is you spend a lot of time repairing them. it was constantly being repaired. this always goes on. you are always taking it to be repaired. it was scheduled the week we had bush fee gore in florida. i rescheduled. the week after, things were dicey driving down to florida. i stopped in brunswick georgia at a truck stop. it's interesting. i am refueling, which is an interesting experience with all
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the 18 wheelers and one of the truckers blocked by as i was refueling and he says to me, did anybody ever tell you you look like clarence thomas? i said, oh yeah? he said, i'll bet it happens all the time, doesn't it? and then he went on about his business. >> one of you is passionate salsa dancer. i guess we know who that is. [laughter] >> that's me again. >> tell us about your career in salsa. >> that last part, i doubt very much. i asked my mom what i did as a child because we had parties in
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my home for most of my early childhood at my grandmother's home. most of my cousins can dance but i couldn't. she said every time lessons started, you would run off and do something else. i later found out that i am pitch death -- death. i can't keep a beat to save my life. i lived like a potted plant. i lived like a potted plant most of my adulthood. as i was turning 50, i had a gone on to the court of appeals. i kept getting invited to hispanic events where salsa was being played. i would sit there. all these people were asking me to get up and dance and i was single. i finally decided that this was
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something that i wanted to change. i took lessons. i found out that i i cannot keep a beat to save my life. it doesn't matter what i do. i have a facility that some of my colleagues would find a very strange. i can follow. [laughter] [applause] this will fall a little flat. if my partner can keep a beat and i can see it, i can follow. among hispanic men, the best dancers in terms of keeping a beat are dominicans. the worst are cubans. >> that's profiling.
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>> yes it is. but it proves itself write a lot. cubans have these very tight little steps. puerto ricans i can dance with. i'm not only partly jesting. i have to watch first to make sure i can follow them. some of you can't lead it. >> you are going to be in trouble with the cubans. >> i know. >> my husband always said he is the only puerto rican who doesn't know how to dance. >> i will give you the name of my instructor. >> it's a revelation to know that soanya likes to follow. i think were going to start dancing in the conference room.
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[laughter] [applause] >> now you know. getting to know you better, i'm going to ask a question that sounds in all, but it works on c-span. tell us about a book you read recently and why it was good. >> oh boy. i have two books that are inspirational and i keep them on the table by my then. i try to read them every night. one is "my grandfather's son" and "my beloved world." [laughter] >> quick thinking.
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>> he is keeping it in his pocket. >> it's a hard question to answer. i try to read other things other than the law over the summer. when the summer comes to an end you have to keep this up. you just can't read reefs. so much of our lives is reading and in credible amount of legal material. the summer, i found a list of short works, things you can read in a day. i started it already. that is my valve for the coming term. some of the things i had read many years ago like a story from "dubliners."
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i thought wow, you didn't really understand this when you are 17 years old. that's what i am doing now. >> i do a combination of legal books and nonlegal books. the summer, i read a book on my colleague skill leah -- scalia. i also read justice stevens book on the amendments he would propose if he had the power. in terms of fun things, you want to escape from it, i read because my college roommate told me which classics to read. she still send me -- since me books.
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i loved that book. not only did teach me science in an understandable way, it had a very moving and impactful description of how science not only changes the world but the individuals affected by it. to me, it was beautifully done and incredibly interesting. on my nightstand is a personal book. morgenthaler was my first. it's a little bit of law. it's really about him and her his people. i'm enjoying it. you pick up the things your friends recommend.
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there are things i have a personal interest in. it varies. >> recent books? >> i must admit i think reading is a gift that i prayed for when i was a kid. i was very thankful for it. i read quite a bit. i agreed to do things and teach courses and things i am interested in. i recently agreed to teach a law and literature class. this year, we were doing "native son." it was critical in my own development and my own life. i have reread that many times. i reread it most recently a few weeks ago. last year we did "to kill a mockingbird."
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each time you read it, you see something different. >> are those books you are teaching? >> this is a george washington university. it was a seminar on law and literature. this is my fourth year. i taught another one on swift feet tyson. i really need a full-time job. [laughter] what it does is forces me to read a different way, things that were important. they are helpful. reading richard wright at this point in my life is quite different from when i first read him. >> when did you first read it? >> i was the only black kid in
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seminary. i was 16. i read it again during my college years and law school years. it was a bad time to read it and then i read it afterwards. at each stage, you see different things or you see things differently from a different perspective. >> judge alito gave my answer. i read both of your memoirs read in -- preparing for today. sam, you've got to get moving on a memoir. i want to move on to law school and your free supreme court careers. let us in on some formative episodes, good or bad. i know soanya and clarets have written about this. you can tell us something in your book or something else entirely.
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sam, is it true that you sat in the front of class and never took notes? >> that sounds good, i won't deny it. [laughter] interesting things that happened , i took some wonderful classes and had some great professors. i was walked over to the law school this morning by a first-year student. i had a good chance to talk to him on the way over and i asked what courses he was taking it. he said he is taking torts. so many things have changed here. it's good that some things do say the same. he was a wonderful teacher. i am happy to hear that he is doing very well after some
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recent surgery. i had some very good courses. i was reminded this week. every time i do that, i remember participating in it moot court. i somehow made it to the final round because of an incident that i mentioned. during one of the preliminary rounds, one of the judges was hammering me with one particular question. he asked and i answered it the best i could. he asked the same question again and i tried again. i don't know how many times this went on. then i said i would like to move on to my other argument. he said, you haven't answered my question to my satisfaction yet. my response was, i answered it to my satisfaction. [laughter]
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this was an incredibly open-minded person who let me move on. >> i never knew that about you. >> what a view? -- what about you? >> i think of law school as a blur. there were some people who were very good to me. dean james thomas was very good to me. i consumed a lot of his time. there were professors here, they were all very good to me and spent time with me. what a gentleman. joe bishop spent time with me when i took a couple of his courses.
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i just found it stimulating. i also loved -- you are required to eat one meal at the law school. there was a group of us that met in the mornings. it was mostly kids who lived in the dorms. we would meet at breakfast and that was one of the delightful times. i would never miss that and i think it was at 8:00 or something. i also had some study groups that were just delightful. if you did not contribute, you were booted out. it was wonderful. i found those interesting. i must admit that i did not get as much out of law school as i should have.
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that was simply because of my attitude in which i encouraged students not to replicate. it was a difficult time and there was a lot of negativity on my part. >> clarence, i really didn't know how to take full advantage of law school. given our background and the fact that we didn't have anybody in law or related to lock, i did the things that sounded like you had to do. moot court seemed like too much writing to me. i did barristers union. i was already doing writing and other activities. until hose a talk to me about clerking in my third year, i had not heard about it.
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i do think there are kids who come today to gail who don't -- two-year jail -- to yale who don't know how to take advantage of it. i think some of it is us. >> i think you make a good point. i found out about clerkships two years after i was gone. [laughter] >> i'm not going to repeat what's in my book. i hope those of you who haven't read it will. [laughter] i will say that in high school, i was near the top of my class. in college, you may have heard i
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graduated with honors. i get to yell and i learned a deep sense of humility. sitting next to my classmates listening to them in class taught me how much smarter so many of the people were. smart has different faces. >> that is resonating with you? >> i tend to agree. for me, by the time you leave there is a sense of confidence. i had an assessment of where i needed to be. then there was a question of what i make the commitment to get there. soanya is absolutely right.
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there was a lot we did not know. there are some things i am involved in were we try to bridge that app for talented kids from difficult backgrounds or challenging backgrounds. i do think that yale, i had a sense of how bright or how much others knew and how much i needed to learn to be where they were. that would take years. it was a matter -- it's about persistence. was i going to be persistent enough and have the will to continue preparing to get there? >> let me talk a little bit about getting there. this another commonality. after you left yale law school you started your careers as government attorneys.
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plants, you served in missouri. you did tax work under john danforth. sam you served as an assistant attorney in new jersey. soanya, you went to serve as an assistant district attorney under bob morgan call. -- morgan call. >>we want to know how these post law school experiences shaped you as a justice. i just want to say "shaped you." >>which of your jobs was the most important preparation for the supreme court?
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you were in the missouri attorney general's office and then at monsanto. you worked as an aide to senator danforth. you worked in civil rights at the department of education. which of these was the most important operation? >> first of all, i was in missouri. i don't want anybody to think i had some conscious planet. i couldn't find a job. jefferson city was the only job offer i had. i would have to say each job was a good job. even the difficulties were opportunities to learn and to grow.
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that is why i looked at them. not all of them were the most gratifying or fulfilling jobs. i have not had a bad job. the job and jefferson city was the best job i have ever had. >> it was the only job you could get. >> it was jack danforth and he is a good man. it was more work. he said he could promise more work for less money than anybody in the country. [laughter] he delivered on that. it was a wonderful learning opportunity. the best job i had for me among the jobs i had, i would have to say eeoc. eeoc had a lot of challenges. i don't want to regurgitate all of those things or relive that. there were challenges and there
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were criticisms and i was constantly in trouble. you learned how to make calm hard decisions under difficult circumstances. you learned to double check and recheck and make sure you are right. also, you learn how not to become unpleasant. there is unpleasantness around you to accept certain things. you can't retaliate. i would say eeoc. people who work closely with you appreciate you being loyal and good to you as jack danforth was for me. i would have to say eeoc taught me that discipline and that
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calling this an difficult circumstances. >> sam? you spent four years in new jersey where i imagine a lot of your work was appeals. then you went to the solicitor general's office. you spent two years as deputy at loc. then you were appointed by the president to be the attorney. he went from being a legal eagle to run in office. what was that like? >> was a lot of fun. it was different than what had gone before. it was radically different from what came after. i think being a circuit judge on
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my old court and most of the regional courts of appeal were the judges are geographically spread out is one of the most isolated legal jobs that exists. other courts may operate differently. on my old court, we got along very well. i could go weeks without ever saying another human being at work except for people in my own office. the u.s. attorney job was completely different. all i did was read and write on the court of appeals and exchanged e-mails with colleagues every six weeks. at the u.s. attorney's office it was a big office by the standards of the day. there were 65 attorneys. something was always happening. when i came in, i might have
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things i planned to do, but there would be a dozen things that i hadn't planned. good things, not so good things. we would have to deal with problems. the heads of different investigative agencies came in. it was fascinating and it did not involve very much reading. there wasn't a lot of deep legal analysis. it's a very practical job, try to make sure everybody in the office was moving in the right direction and handling their cases and investigations properly. >> soanya, after serving you were in private practice for nine years. you served for five years as a district court judge. you're the only justice with that experience.
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how did these roles inform your perspective on the law? >> i had a thought, even from law school, that you knew the profession was moving toward specialization and at some point i would have to pick an area. even in law school, i spent time learning about different fields that i thought made me a more well-rounded lawyer. even though i was specializing in international law i took corporations and contracts and evidence and taxation. i took estates and trusts. i thought this made a well-rounded attorney. when i got to the das office
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there was some frustration. a state court is very different than a federal. prosecutions are very different. resources are scarce. the people involved in the work are well-meaning, but also sometimes not well trained. witnesses are often scared. we don't have the federal resources of witness protection in the same way. we had to control a lot of people to bring in cases. after four and a half years, i decided i had rounded out the criminal side of my law uremic and i wanted to -- of my law you're reading. i did everything as a litigator. i have a subspecialty in inter-
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-- intellectual property. i handled real estate matters. i handled aching and securities matters. i did a little bit of everything. i think that prepared me for the district court. i was watching judges who had become judges recently, they come from specialties. i had developed a wider basis of legal knowledge. there was a ton new to learn. in one of my conversations recently, i've learned a lot. >the district court, let me tell
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you a story. last year, i was having lunch with justice kagan. we started talking about how hard our senior justices worked in the various federal circuits. without thinking about it, i said when and if i retire i want to go back to district court. when asked why, why would i want to do what i have been doing for however many years it's been? i want to go back to my first love. the district court is an exciting place. at least for me, it was the formative experience of preparing me for the court. i still look at cases like
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district courts do. i look to the facts. i try to apply the facts to law. my colleagues look at the law. that's all sometimes they are looking at. it's a very different perspective. i will never disavow. i think it has value. for me, my greatest time was on the district court in terms of preparing me for the supreme court. >> was the u.s. attorney or arguing cases in the supreme court, which do you think you took the most from now as a justice? >> arguing is much more closely related to what i am doing. i treasured the experience of being u.s. attorney. >> we moved on to the supreme
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court. what initial question, what surprised each of you most when you got to the court? sam, you must have been familiar with it. did anything surprise you? anything monday and or important? >> we are very formal and the way we operate internally than i was used to on the court of appeals. the work we do is not that much different. two thirds of our cases come from the courts of appeals. we are more formal in the way we operate. our arguments are more formal. there were very often know people there. more time would be given if the
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lawyers hadn't covered everything. you really can't do that when you have nine of the bench and you have the kind of schedule that we have. our internal operations are very old-fashioned. we still -- we don't communicate with each other at all. all my communications were by e-mail. it supreme court is all done by hard copy. we still have spent tunes by our seats on the bench. [laughter] >> being on the regional court of appeals is isolating. now you are all in the same building. i thought you would say our communications are by telephone.
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they are by written communication. >> they are almost always written, except when we are in conference and we are talking. there is nothing wrong with it being oral. if you have comments about an opinion the standard procedure is to write a letter and to circulate it to everybody on the court. it's a much less isolated job. we are in the same city in the same building. we are together many more days. there are days we have arguments and conferences. we have lunch together very frequently. we see each other a lot more than i did in my old court. clarence? >> i can't say i was surprised.
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it was very formal. i like formality. i don't like a lot of the informal stuff. your old boss, he would send around a memo. "dear clarence, i don't agree with the thing you said. cheers byron." [laughter] we are all the same building and we see each other when we sitting or have conference. i usually come in and go to my chambers and i work and i go back to the basement and get in my car and go home. i use e-mail, when i first got to the court there was not
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internal e-mail. i think in time we will start communicating by internal e-mail. i was in charge of the automation in those days. we have all of that now. we could do a lot of things on a document but we don't do it. i do it with my clerks. i think people prefer hard copies. i work paperless almost exclusively in my chambers. i think it some point we will do it in the court. the thing that surprised me is just how warm everybody was when i got there. i was pleasantly surprised by that. i was surprised by how engaged everyone was. i -- you could start talking to
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john stevens about cases. he was fully engaged. justice o'connor was the same thing. it was a wonderful environment. people were not raising their voices. it appeared to me that the work was more important than they were. our job was to turn out the best product that we could. that's the way the court is now. i was very pleasantly surprised at how much work it was. i was 40 years younger. he is doing this in his 80's, it can't be all that hard. at the end of my first term, he was cruising along and i had
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fallen along the way. i think you learn, you've got to get a system. you have to learn how to do the job systematically. i have to say that the number one thing for me was just how warm and respectful and dignified the people were with whom i worked, whether they agreed with you or didn't. that was my biggest surprise. >> i was surprised by all of this as well. for me, the tradition has positive things. the court as an institution was much more important than i was as an individual justice. that is an important lesson i think for justices to learn and to live by.
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sometimes tradition is silly. at lunch, we have to sit in the previous justices chair. that's not by seniority. that chair has been set on by all the justices. when someone moves, you see a lot of eyebrows raised. why are you sitting there? i have fallen prey to that. it can be overwhelming at times. i think there are two reasons why the justices don't use technology so much. one is tradition. the other is some of them don't know how. [laughter] >> then there's that.
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>> the almost 90-year-old justice, justice stevens did use e-mail. you can send him something and he would respond, but it was very short. you knew he was not a great typist. colleagues you might be surprised, the most computer savvy justice is you clarence. i think so. >> justice stevens was my ally in automating the agency. he actually was a very productive man. people used to make fun of him when he went to florida. we dreaded when he went to florida, because he would start churning all this stuff out here in he was always on his computer.
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he was a wonderful ally. when there was some consternation early on about automation, he was one of the people i could count on to always help me convince my colleagues to move in that direction. >> i will say something about the isolation that you talk about. i chose to be on the second floor. i recognize it's a problem because i am separated from my colleagues. the steps down seeing a bigger barrier than they should. i don't just decide as i have done before in other courts, i
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keep telling myself i have to go down and say hello. we have colleagues who do that. we do have some colleagues who like doing it. i think it's personality. i really do think it's what we are most comfortable with as individuals. with respect to the question that you asked, i have often said that i felt what the public does when they read our opinions. you agree with one side or the other and you think to yourself this wasn't that hard to figure out. what you don't see is how difficult almost every case before us is.
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it doesn't come to us unless there is a circuit split. that's because some could argue this point, most of our judges are reasonable people. they are giving their best effort at giving an answer. i find myself struggling a lot more than i anticipated. >> you read the majority opinion and the dissenting opinion and each one seems quite confident they got it right. >> you picked great lawyers. every one of us was an advocate. every one of us can pitch the best argument on either side that you could raise.
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once we have come to our conclusion the purpose of opinion is to persuade. you are going to do an opinion that you hope persuades even though you may be experiencing some initial doubt about the answer. for me, that part of it was a surprise. >> do you have anything to add to this question mark --? >> what's on your set about the difficulty of the cases is correct. most of them are cases where there is a conflict in those have two reasonable positions that you can take. i keep in mind the fact that the last opinion of mine from the third circuit that went to the supreme court was reversed by
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the supreme court n9-0. i am still sure i was correct. it was if a woman was ineligible for social security disability insurance benefits because she could do the last job that she previously had. her last job was as an elevator operator. i said simpleminded leave that the ability to do your last job shouldn't count if that job doesn't exist anymore in the real world. the supreme court in its wisdom said it doesn't matter whether the job exists anymore. i do keep that in mind. [laughter] >> it still bothers you. >> i've gotten over it.
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>> i remember it very well. >> speaking of your colleagues, there is something i want to hear. yell law school is supreme in populating faculties. another fact is for your colleagues were full-time law professors. by that measure, this is the most academic court of all time. none of the former professors are from yeale. are there too many former professors? are there too many former appeals court judges? anyone can take this on. >> we are at a dangerous tipping point.
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they are almost in the majority. being a judge is a perfect preparation for the supreme court. no question about it. >> it's helpful. i don't know whether that kind of being a judge or an academic or having held an elected position, i don't know if that diversity of experience is critically important. diversity of experience is valuable. we all have, very few people today have a generalist background that soanya has acquired. a lot of people stand their career specializing in some areas.
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we all have areas where we have to write opinions that are going to be binding in areas where we have no ground. i did not one bit of patent work before i went to the supreme court. my first involvement in hand law is voting on patent cases. it's inevitable. it's valuable to have that kind of diversity as far as fields of specialization and knowledge. >> anybody else care to comment? >>you have served on a different courts. >> i served two weeks on the court of appeals. >> different supreme court if you think about other people coming in.
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>> i have great respect for the work that our judges do. i think they allow us, i don't think we can write woe is me. you have to write the opinion. you write it as best and clearly as you can. sometimes we read it in a way that allows the insecurities we might have or the uncertainty we might have in the argument. we have to be open in the next cases to re-examine that. that is something i try to do in chambers. i want to rethink old opinions. as far as the makeup of the court, i don't think i am in position to say who is better qualified. our colleagues who are academics
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, who would we replace? i think they are all fabulous. you don't have to agree with them to know they do fabulous work. if you are in a disagreement with her, she will force you to do better work. i like the court the way it is. i do think we should be concerned that we are from to law schools. i'm sure harvard and yale likes that. i think we should be concerned about that to some extent. this is a big country. we might want to think about the fact that we have such northeastern orientation when their is a lot of country
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between here and the west coast. those are my peeves. i couldn't say to you that somebody on the court who has been a colleague of mine should not have been there. they are wonderful people. >> i have a dissenting view. any one individual doesn't represent anything. you don't represent the justice who is an elected official. you don't represent a justice from a single practice. you are not an advocate for an interest group. justices don't play advocates in that sense of the word. i do think that as you are evaluating the human condition as you are talking about how you
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expect a reasonable person to respond or how you talk about what a reasonable police officer would or would not do and all of these questions that we look at constantly, it's helpful to have people with life experiences that are varied. just because it enriches the process. like clarence, i am worried that we are not geographically diverse. i did not think the president was going to pick me because of that. i'm glad he picked me anyway. nobody wants to say it should be them. i think geographic, religious we all believe in god. there are issues that come up in terms of reactions where having
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a different perspective might be useful. i think we are missing things on the court. we are missing any justice who has criminal defense experience. everybody has either been -- [applause] we don't have a civil rights lawyer except ruth. we don't have one in general civil rights. i think that is a type of practice. tony kennedy did some solo practice. his was unique practice in california. it was a product of his dad who joined -- he joined his father. we have a lot of big term lawyers.
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there are no small practitioners. you need diversity not just of life background, but of legal experience background. we are being asked to decide questions involving not just ordinary people, but if i had the power, i would encourage the appointment of people who have diversity. when senators asked me what i thought about nominees for circuit courts, i would say look at your bench and see what my fix rants or professional experience it's missing. look for people who can bring an enriched area. >> you have mentioned
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friendships. we don't witness your interactions, formal and informal. i am going to try something. i am going to ask each of you to tell us something about one of the other two. maybe something we might not know. soanya, tell us something about clarets. >> clarence knows the name of every employee in the courthouse. from the lowest position to the highest. [applause]
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he knows their families, their happiness is and their tragedies. when robert introduced him, he talked about his humanity. that alone made me understand that as much as we may disagree on a lot of legal issues, we don't disagree on the fundamental value of people. you can respect someone who you disagree with legally to start without foundation in principle. >> sam, can you tell us something about sonja?
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>> let's see if he read my book. [laughter] >> every night. [laughter] >> i think i am not going to tell you something that you don't already know, but these are traits that i admire. she is very independent and very thorough in her preparation. not only on the merits cases but on the hundreds of petitions that we discuss every term. she is very strong in her views and she does not give up on the rest of us, even when she sees the majority is going off in the wrong direction -- you might throw up your hands and say what can i do?
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she has hope that she can convince us and she makes good arguments and sometimes she succeeds. >> i have been called incessantly optimistic. >> goodness, she never gives up. [laughter] just relist that. sam -- first of all he is married to martha and who is a delight and who is a wonderful person and sam is really smart really funny principled and a man of his word. when you can look someone in the eye and he tells you something
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and you can take him at his word -- that is a treasure. i tell my law clerks often that reputation is hard to build and easy to lose. with us sam has a wonderful reputation of integrity and honesty, plus he is a funny guy. for some reason he likes as philadelphia teams, which i do not understand. [laughter] >> thankfully the one time we had a that, i won. >> you had a bet and he won? >> the yankee -- the team for playing against each other i had to treat him to philadelphia cheesesteak sam which is and he had to treat me to new york hot dogs and beer and i got a really good lunch. [laughter] >> you did and it was not easy to find brooklyn logger at that
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time in washington. you had to search in a lot of places. this was a bet on the two dozen nine world series -- i think it will be a long time before he have anything like that again --. 2009 world series -- i think it will be a long time to tour have anything like that again. >> let me use the final question to ask each of you, what is the most important advice you gave to the students with whom you met this morning. each of you met with 30 students chosen by lottery -- sam? >> i met with a smart group of students who had the good sense not to ask me for advice. so i can't tell you advice that i gave them but i will tell you advice i would have even them if
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they had asked me. [laughter] >> people around here just give advice without being asked. >> maybe it will filter out to them. i would've told the two things -- i don't know how relevant this is to their experience because an awful lot of time has passed since i was here but when i was here there were a lot of's mark students who had been on an achievement track so the question was not what do i want to do next but what is the thing to do as i compete to get to the best college and law school and get the best clerkship and work for the best firm. at some point you need to get off that track and ask what you personally want to do. if you have not done it before,
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when you graduate from law school that is the time to do it. the second is, not to confuse your legal career with your life. don't make it your entire life, don't define your worth in terms exclusively of what you do in your legal career. i know people from my law school class did that and it led to unfortunate consequences. that is advice i would have given but did not have the chance. >> thank you. sonia? >> i don't know the students would say but i will change a little of what i said. when i was looking into which law school to attend i had railroad -- narrowed it to
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harvard or yale. this was before the age of the internet -- i had to talk to people about both institutions. every harvard graduate -- harvard law school graduate would say the toughest years of my life but i loved it. every year alumni that i talked to would say, the best years of my life. that difference in response is what convinced me to come to yale. i have subsequently through the years thought about why i said the same thing. i think it is in part what sam had said, there is tracking but there is tracking because there is a model of success that people see and want to duplicate. that is the only model they know
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of. the one thing i loved about yale is that it lets you be passionate about whatever you want it to be. >> amen. >> you can work with whatever professor doing whatever kind of work you want to do and people volunteered to do it. they did it because it was important to them to do and i loved that. my friends in other institutions -- they will remain nameless -- are picked by reason of how smart the professors think they are or they are picked for programs based on that. when i was here, you could volunteer for almost any organization and get in. i hope that is still the case. my point basically is i now echo
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sam -- i told the students he happy here. i did not finish my advice i saying be happy by what makes you happy. the passionate about what you're doing. that is the value of what you're getting. >> clarence. >> i told them not to do what i did. [laughter] i think -- i think sonia is right that there was a lot we did not know. i wish that i came here at a time where i could have been more positive because there is so much here that i walked right i because i had closed my eyes and heart to it. i credit jacked and forth -- jack danforth with a lot of
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opening my eyes to things. when i met him through guido calabrezi who did not teach me toward -- [laughter] i remember meeting him when he came a campus and he was a young, tall attorney general with that spot in his hair and he clapped his hands really loud and said clarence, 20 of room at the top. -- plenty of room at the top. and i thought, that guy was off his rocker. that is how cynical and negative i was but here he was positive and energetic with belief in possibilities and what i tried to convey is that attitude of hopefulness. you are here at one of the best if not the best law school in the nation. make the most of it.
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the friendships, the opportunities to learn, to do things, to grow. i also suggest to them that when they take a job, the jobs are wonderful. all the other things are equal. work for the person. work for a good person. a good person can turn a difficult job into a wonderful job and a bad person can turn a beautiful job into a miserable job. i was fortunate to work for jack danforth and some people might not of the work was glamorous but i got to work for a good man and to -- and who 40 plus years later i think of in an even more positive light.
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i think it is important to work for good people of integrity who are positive and finally -- though i did not get a chance to say this to them, i believe you treat people the way you expect to be treated whether they deserve it or not. they are owed that. that is hard to do. a part of going to the things that sonia mentioned earlier is the ability to let rings go, to forgive and forget and turn and move on. that is not so easy that you want to be forgiven. you want people to give you a pass sometimes, to think better of you so you do it to others. i feel very strongly your required to treat the way we want to be treated and finally even when it is hard you are required to be honest. not to give in to fad or go along to get along.
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i grew up under segregation and i convinced that some people went along because it was easier to do that than it was to oppose something that was dreadfully and morally wrong. >> we are so very route of all of you and we are grateful to you -- thank you. [applause] >> next, a conversation with aol
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founder steve case and live at 7:00 a.m., your calls and comments from washington journal. on newsmakers, representative elect ken buck elected by his fellow freshman republicans as class president talks about joining congress and how he expects congress will operate. here is a portion of his remarks. >> i think we have to make substantial progress on alan's and the budget and if we do that -- on balancing the budget and if we do that i will vote on
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increasing the debt limit but if we do that -- i don't believe that the consequences of failing to raise the debt limit are what the president and some others in the united states congress have said -- i think we have a lot of room to cut our spending and if we do that we will in fact avoid the catastrophic consequences that others talk about. >> do you support the boehner rule? dollar for dollar cuts? >> i think that is a minimum threshold -- real cuts, not cuts that happen in 10 years or 15 years from now where another congress will inevitably change those cuts -- i think we have to have cuts that happen now and they are unfortunately going to hurt but the pain is caused i a
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history of irresponsible spending in the netted states and by the government. >> if not, we face the possibility of a default? >> i hope that we do not. i hope that congress and the resident act responsibly -- president act responsibly and that we move substantially in that direction. >> representative elect ken buck in colorado on "newsmakers" today. >> the 114th congress gavels and at noon this tuesday. watch live on c-span and the senate live on c-span2 and have your say as events unfold on the c-span networks, c-span radio and
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new congress, best access on c-span area -- c-span. >> now a conversation with steve case. we asked steve crocker -- he and steve crocker were interviewed at this year's washington ideas for. -- forum.
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you became the lead graduate student, tell me the story. >> i didn't know it would be important either. as you said, the arpanet project which was the seedling for what became the internet was connected to the research site.
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it was something they could not turn down because that's where the money was coming from and so the first sites were chosen as you said and each of those site already had a research agenda head of civil investigator who was leading the research and this side project was imposed and that delegated down to the grad student. the hard-core part of the router and the wires going online was done through formal contracting process. it was left quite open and undefined, what to do with this thing. how to connect computers to the routers and what they should say to each other. a handful of graduate students got together and started having freewheeling discussions and we knew that we did not know basically.
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we what it to be look to move a file from one waste to another or login to remote sheens but we also were interested in a vast number of possibilities and there is no chance we could completely define all of that. we kicked around a handful of ideas and some of its work press he and. -- prescient. downloading software like java, we were not able to implement it but we could see it coming and we needed to leave a lot of room for other people to build on what we did and after several months of intermittent meetings we started to write down notes. i was very concerned that the act of writing these notes might cause recrimination. that there might be some adult and authority figure from the east -- i did not know whether washington or boston but that some authority figure would show up and ask hard questions, who
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gave you authority to do anything? after a couple of weeks of the crescent nation and a sing about this i said, here is the rules for these notes, they mean nothing, they can be incomplete and you don't have to have a finished rodda is put your name and the date and a title and institution on it and in order to emphasize that these were not asserting final authority, i hit upon this silly linguistic device and labeled every one of them, request for comments. i thought this was a temporary thing that would last for a few and that was april 1869 when i was asked to write the introduction to the 1000 rfc, i was surprised and felt like a sorcerers apprentice phenomena you can't turn it off and sometime later the term was adopted by the oxford english
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dictionary and is one of the small little things in the side that rose. >> it's not small because by calling it request for comment you made everybody you like they could be up art of it. you think that is engine -- ingrained in the genetic code of the internet? >> a student said he downloaded the rfc us and put them together and i got choked not because the impact was huge. today the engineering tax force
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operates in that way. >> your the cherub i can -- you are the chair of ican? >> -- i heard an interesting anecdote. the x deputy director of the nsa talking about interacting in the fisa court and said there are hundreds of articles and the judge said give me the precise number and said ok we will figure out the precise number and a couple weeks later he's back in court" a different number and the judge said, wise and of a different and he said there were 15 new protocols and the judge said, who let that happen? >> i burst out laughing because that so accurately portray the distance between what actually
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goes on versus with the images are for people who grew up in a more structured top down environment. >> you and i started working together in early 1990's and we were growing a a well, the online services or the only way much online people like us made it first of all into a community service, x and y that was in orton. >> -- why that was important -- explain why that was important. >> we were able to build on the work of steve and others and as you talk about in the book innovation is about collaboration. we started aol in 1985, so 29 years ago it was still illegal to connect the commercial service to the internet, it was still just for educational use and military use during it
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wasn't until early 1991 at the internet opened up. so the first decade of online service was a well, compuserve of course. it was only in the early 90's we can bring the world's together but we always believed in the power of the idea of the internet and we believe society would be better if everybody could connect and it would level the playing field so the focus was how do you make it to use and affordable and the core of that was around able connect. people they are a new as well if you will they did not know but would benefit from knowing. >> you said that up until 1992 it was illegal to allow people to go directly on the internet and that's where we give that al gore shut out because it was the gore bill that opened the internet to everyone so if he had not misspoken slightly he would get a lot of credit for
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it. what happens is that aol -- i remember this so vividly, the eternal september, all of a sudden everybody can come on and you go on a a well -- did you have trouble deciding to open that garden gate? >> we try to position aol or ticket early in the early to mid 90's as the best on-ramp to the internet for most people as well as adding some things that were unique and exclusive. 20 plus years ago timing was in charge -- time inc was in charge and it was exclusive to aol and the on the way you can read them was to the driver so it was not just the on-ramp site that the things that were exclusive and that really propelled the growth in the 1990's.
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>> the business model for the content writers go south when everything gets put on the web. how do you see a business model that could go better for content providers? >> the good news is the playing field is level and everybody has a sense of the printing press and the opportunity to have their voice heard and the bad news is there are a lot of voices and it can be noisy so the duration is important and the role of trusted brands and journalist is important and you see people migrate to that and usually it is a mix of things they choose to rely on and things and want to be asked those two whether through twitter or other kinds of social platforms and that continues to evolve. >> you were involved after and
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that included entertainment systems and whatever. what do you see the future being and how would that relate is like bitcoin? >> in the mid-90's i was involved in a startup tried to make it possible to make payments over the internet and the big success of that venture was credit card payments moved over the internet and into the existing classic banking system of visa and mastercard. the thing we tried to build but not so successful or micro-payments and checks and paypal became very successful sometime later. there is a lot of buzz about bitcoin and i have some concern -- i don't want to say something negative about bitcoin but something cautionary about the
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idea of exotic new payment systems. the whole society depends on the stability of the monetary system and if there was something that disrupted that -- a dollar bill taken out of your pocket suddenly became worthless or there was a big inflation, the level of havoc that we would have would dwarf anything we have seen, the meltdown in 2008 would be nothing. there is a lot to be protected there and the country and the world has to proceed quite carefully. the other thing is there are interesting payment systems. in kenya you can make mobile payments very easily and there are a lot of not bank people. the


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